Thursday, October 25, 2012

We went to the Handmade Parade in Hillsborough on Saturday. The paraders wore paper mache masks and puppet heads they'd made in workshops in the months before the big event. There were third graders and long-haired hippie drummers and Girl Scouts and ten-year-old boys who seemed like they'd rather be elsewhere. There were a lot of folks on stilts. Here, let me find a picture for you:

They were cool to look at, though the thought of walking on stilts made my knees hurt.

Will loved the parade (he took all the pictures) and would love making a big paper mache lizard or bird puppet. But actually walk down the street in front of hundreds of people? I don't think so.

The older I get, the more willing I am to be goofy in front of other people. I would march in the parade, especially if I could play the drums. I probably wouldn't dress up funny, though. Are you a costume person? I'm not, not really. Can we divide the world up into people who like to wear costumes and people who don't?

So, no, I wouldn't dress up, but I would walk and sing and play drums and enjoy being around all the wonderful costumes and the people on stilts.

I had lunch today with my neighbor lady friends, Amy and Kathryn. They are both interested in an intentional community that's being built about 15 miles away from here. It's called Hart's Mill, and the point is to make a community that's self-sufficient and sustainable. They want to provide for as much of their energy needs as possible and grow as much of their food as they can.

Amy's interest in this community seemed to stem from a "let's all live in peace and harmony and work together for the common good" stance, while Kathryn espoused a "I want to grow my own food because the stuff you get in the grocery store will kill you" philosophy. 

Because the Man and I are known in our neighborhood for having a super-sized garden, Amy and Kathryn wondered if we had any interest in living in a community like Hart's Mill. The answer to that was a fast and furious no (okay, it was a mumbled "I don't think so," but you get my point). I told them it was because we're such introverts that sometimes community is hard for us. But really it's because we don't actually like other people.

Okay, that's not really true. There are all sorts of people the Man and I like. We like you very much, for instance, and our neighbor lady friends Amy and Kathryn. But we tend to be stubborn and ornery and cussed. We may not be the best people to invite if you're planning an intentional community. We might forget to come to the committee meetings and the communal suppers.

The nice thing about parades and harvest festivals and church and lunching with neighbors is that you get to be in community--and then you get to go home. The part about being able to go home is very important to me. I need a place where I can take off my paper mache mask and step off of my stilts and sit on the couch and be very, very quiet. No meetings, no communal dinners, no drum circles. Just home.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Arts & Crafts

It's hard not to get a little bit craftsy this time of year. There's something about a crisp fall day that makes me want to get out my art supplies and get to work. Last week I messed about with mixed media, for instance, transforming an Altoids tin into ...

Whatever this is.

And I transformed a box into ...

a box with pictures on it.

This past weekend, Will and I decided to decorate the dollhouse for Halloween:

We are in the process of making pumpkins out of Sculpy clay. I'll show you those when we finish.

As someone who makes a living as a creative person, it's very nice to get creative with no end in mind and no deadline at hand. But even nicer is to have a driver's license, a wallet, and several craft stores nearby. Do you remember what it was like to be a kid and have some big idea ... and then no one would take you to the store to get supplies? Or else, you had the supplies, but you couldn't figure out how to make your big idea work?

I was always trying to make houses out of cardboard boxes, but I lacked the architectural and engineering skills I needed to make that happen. I remember trying to use masking tape to tape on the second floor to my house, but the floor just kind of flopped. So frustrating!

One of the reasons I'd like to get my attic organized (I know: ha!) is that I have a dream of turning it into a museum of crazy art projects. Actually, I'd like to build a miniature village with its own railroad running around it. Wouldn't that be fun?

 I just read this article about a place in Hickory, NC, called Hart Square. In the 1967, a doctor named Robert Hart bought 200 acres of land for a family retreat. For reasons known only to him, he started collecting old and abandoned cabins, hauled them onto his land, and restored them, furnished them, and made his own village. It's open to the public once a year.

I want to do that! What I really want to do is buy the Henry River Mill Village (pictured below), which is where "The Hunger Games" was filmed. It's on sale for 1.4 million dollars. I don't happen to have $1.4 million on me, but if I did, that's how I'd spend it. The funny thing is, I'd rather dream of playing house in an old abandoned mill house than actually clean my own. Go figure.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Me & Will at "Take Apart Day" in Science class last spring. Please note that I'm wearing long johns and he's wearing shorts.

Two days ago it was sunny and 85 degrees; today it was rainy and 49. I have mixed feelings about this. While I'm very happy that fall is here, I would prefer it to come in a bit more gradually, with long stretches of sunny days in the mid-sixties.

I don't know why I have these sorts of expectations; the weather so rarely cooperates. And when it is perfect, you start to take it for granted, like, "Oh, of course this is how it is; isn't this how it's supposed to be? Isn't this what we're owed?"

Anyway. The boys had the day off school. This morning Will worked on his jungle diorama, which he's making just for fun, and Jack slept. This afternoon Will went bowling with his friend Gavin and Jack computed. I prepared for my Monday night Bible study. It's called Disciples II, and it's the same group from last year, when we did Disciples I. The problem being with the same group of people is that we all like each other a lot and spend too much time chatting and laughing.

For Disciples II, we're reading Genesis, Exodus, Luke and Acts over a 36-week period. Right now we're in the Abraham cycle. My favorite part of our reading this week was when Sarah overhears God telling Abraham she's going to have a son and laughs. When God asks her if He just heard her laugh, she's all, Oh, no, not me, I wasn't laughing. And God says, Au contraire, I think you were.

It cracked me up.


I spent a lot of time this weekend making art. I'll have to take some pictures and post them. Not this it's great art; I'm just happy to be making it. I made a shadowbox a la Joseph Cornell and a lot of trading card-sized collages. I love collages. I also love making stuff just to make it--not to sell it, not to give it away, not for any purpose whatsoever. My niece and I started trading artist cards this summer, and over the weekend I altered an Altoids tin and pasted pictures in it, then typed up several poems I like in very tiny print, cut them out, rolled them up into little scrolls and put them inside. My niece is writing poetry, and I want to encourage her.

One of the poems I included was actually an excerpt from an e.e. cummings poem I loved when I was young, "my father moved through dooms of love." Because you are poetry-loving people, I shall share the excerpt with you:

An excerpt from [my father moved through dooms of love]
By e.e. cummings

my father moved through dooms of love
through sames of am through haves of give,
singing each morning out of each night
my father moved through depths of height

this motionless forgetful where
turned at his glance to shining here;
that if (so timid air is firm)
under his eyes would stir and squirm

my father moved through theys of we,
singing each new leaf out of each tree
(and every child was sure that spring
danced when she heard my father sing)

I remember reading this as a kid and having no idea what e.e. cummings was talking about but still loving it like crazy.


The coffee experiment is going well. I've been drinking it almost every day, and my stomach is fine. I'm still sticking to my plan of starting the morning with tea. Coffee kind of pushes you out the door with a big jolt. Tea is much more civilized. As another one of my favorite poets, Theodore Roethke says, I wake to sleep, and take my waking slow ...

I'm starting to think about all the things I need to do for Christmas. Are you?